1.8 million people seeking protection live in Germany, 1.1 million of them since 2015. Many refugees leave their home country out of fear and persecution with the hope of a safe and free life. In order to realize their stay, they must meet certain requirements. An apprenticeship or a permanent job is one of these requirements.
Said fled his home country Afghanistan in 2015, when he was just 15 years old. The destination was first and foremost Europe, and eventually Germany . Through his vocational training at VITRONIC, Said got the chance to realize his stay in Germany. He started his vocational training in the field of "Warehouse Logistics Specialist" in 2017 and successfully completed it in June 2020. The difficult conditions, such as the language barrier, were overcome through his own motivation and the support of the team - he passed his practical final exam with an A (the highest grade attainable). Said has become a valued employee and colleague.
If you have a goal and are a motivated person, you have the chance to achieve it in a country like Germany. You are free - unlike in my home country.
Said's escape took him through many countries. Among other things, he travelled from Turkey to Greece by boat, a situation that he experienced as frightening at the time, not being able to swim. Finally, he arrived in Germany. At the beginning, communication was the main difficulty. Said, as he says, likes to be in contact with other people. However, the language barrier creates a big challenge at the beginning. He used his hands and feet to communicate. He notices the Germans are very helpful and friendly.
In addition to problems in communication, however, the uncertainty was also a burden: What will happen next? Can he stay in Germany and live a self-determined life in the future?
After arriving in Munich, he was transferred to Wiesbaden, where he attended the 9th grade of secondary school (IGS Obere Aar) in Taunusstein. This is where contact was made with Gerhard Bär, Chief Operating Officer at VITRONIC. VITRONIC maintains close contact with teachers and students at the IGS. At a school event, Said's teacher described to Mr. Bär that Said was a highly motivated student who had developed very quickly in language and subject skills in just one year.
During that conversation, I perceived Said as a very courageous young man who wants to stand on his own feet and be independent. His rapid development, drive and determination caught my attention and also quickly convinced me. VITRONIC is committed to many areas - something that we, as one of the largest employers in Wiesbaden, have taken as a matter of principle. Good talent for highly qualified practical work is very rare to find these days.
After Said graduated from high school, he had to decide what to do next. Gerhard Bär offered him an internship at VITRONIC in the field of warehouse logistics - with the prospect of starting an apprenticeship. Said accepted this offer immediately. During the internship, Said got to know the group manager for warehouse logistics, Serkan Birgül, and the trainer for the "Warehouse Logistics Specialist" area, Alexander Dunckel. Both like the way Said integrated himself and got involved right from the start. Something that is very important in the family-like cooperation at VITRONIC. It is therefore quickly clear to them that they wanted to offer Said the apprenticeship.
In the first year of training, Said meets the team leader for incoming goods and return storage, Umut Altuntas. He is now Said's trainer and mentor, following a change from Alexander Dunckel. Umut immediately noticed how motivated Said is.
For people like Said, it's more than just an apprenticeship - it's about a stay and a future.
At the beginning of the training, the language barrier and thus communication are the biggest problems. It was therefore particularly important to Umut that Said learned the German language. He supported him by organizing tutoring for Said through his membership on the examination board of the Wiesbaden Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK). German must also be spoken at work (to this day). A requirement that Said found difficult at first. He stayed on the ball, and from month to month the communication worked better and better.
Through the training at VITRONIC, Said was able to realize his stay in Germany - he can now stand on his own two feet and live freely. Something that would not have been possible in this form in his home country.
Said has arrived. His colleagues have also made a big contribution to this, because what Said enjoys most is working together and being in contact with them. His colleagues have now become friends and family.
As I always say, at VITRONIC and in our warehouse management, we are one big team, one family. We all work together. If a person needs help, then they get said help. The people, the employees, they are all great. I completed my training with their help.
Through shared motivation and commitment, Said managed to complete his training with excellence. Due to his good performance, Said was taken on by VITRONIC and has become a valued employee.
There are some prejudices against refugees. But as in other areas of life, you can't lump all people together. Said has integrated so well, is so committed and we have had such good experiences. For this reason, we have decided to offer an apprenticeship to another refugee - Said Habib Mousavi, who fled in 2013, also from Afghanistan. He is currently in the third year of his apprenticeship. Our goal is for him to successfully complete his training as well.
Said Amir Hashemi's wish for the future is that he can someday see his family again, complete his master school and further education, and have a good life.
We share this story of Said Amir Hashemi because we want to encourage other people in need and other companies. At VITRONIC, we believe that commitment, drive and ambition matter. Performance and motivation count, not the background of a person. We are not about #diversity, we are about #EqualOpportunitiesForAll.